Keep your latest efforts out of total #TBT territory. Let's count down the top 25 bits of news to rattle content marketers so far in 2017. How many were already on your radar?
Experts predicted 2017 would be an eventful year in the world of content marketing — and if the first half of the year is any indication, we’ve got an interesting second half of the year to look forward to. But before we get there, let’s take a look back at the top 25 announcements and studies that have shaped 2017 thus far.
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25. Pinterest introduces search ads
Perhaps Pinterest’s most-important update yet came earlier this year when it rolled out search ads. The search ads allow marketers to sponsor “top result” pins that match search queries. Though a simple update, it is also an important one to marketers who have products that match items being searched for.
24. FTC gets serious about regulating influencer marketing
In April, the Federal Trade Commission issued a press release reminding brands and influencers that influencers must be upfront about when they are being paid to promote a product. Though there have not been major reports about crackdowns, hashtags like #sponsored, #ad, or #partner have become more prevalent on influencer social posts.
23. Native advertising skyrockets
From the end of the first quarter of 2016 to the end of the first quarter in 2017, native ads saw a dramatic 74 percent increase, according to a study completed by MediaRadar. These types of ads have been especially popular in the media and entertainment industry and the professional services industry.
22. Snapchat Spectacles become available to the masses
Though Snapchat Spectacles were first released in 2016, unless you were able to find a kiosk in a major city where the glasses were being sold, you had no chance to buy them. That changed earlier this year when Snapchat made Spectacles available for anyone to purchase online. Analysts estimate approximately 60,000 Spectacles were sold in the first quarter of 2017.
21. Instagram adds photo carousels
Instagram’s update that allows for up to 10 photos and videos to be uploaded at once was met with excitement when it was first announced in February. Though Instagram hasn’t released data about how many times this functionality has been used, a scroll through your IG feed should prove sufficient evidence that Instagram users are utilizing the new functionality.
20. Study: Stop putting offers in your email subject lines if you want people to open
A Yes Lifecycle Marketing study this year found that putting offers in your email subject lines often does not yield the response you may be hoping for. In fact, emails that do not include offers in the subject lines get higher click and open rates than those that do.
19. Google Chrome will start letting users know if your site isn’t secure
Google Chrome offered a warning to brands earlier this year — make your site secure, or we’ll warn consumers to not visit it. Given the amount of Internet traffic that occurs on Chrome, failing to make your site secure would be an awful way to shoot your marketing efforts in the foot.
18. Consumers to social brands: Focus on helpfulness — not snark
The brands that are most snarky tend to get the most attention from fellow marketers and news outlets, but consumers are less than thrilled with the attitude. A Sprout Social report found that above all else, most consumers want brands to be honest and friendly on social media.
17. Facebook adjusts algorithm based on reaction emoji usage
When Facebook first rolled out emoji reactions, these emojis were initially simply cute ways to interact with content. That changed earlier this year when Facebook announced it would begin prioritizing love, haha, sad, and angry reactions higher than “likes.” That means the more passionate your users are about using reactions, the more likely they are to see your Facebook content.
16. Study suggests you should spend more time on SEO than your website to improve reputation
People don’t search out content on your website, but nearly half of all respondents of a Lumentus survey said that they research companies based on search results — even without ever visiting a company’s site. The study reports that almost 75 percent of respondents said they have chosen to not do business with a company because of negative search results.
15. Google ceases scanning users’ emails for ad targeting
Google announced earlier this year that it would no longer scan the content of users’ emails for ad targeting. This means that the content in the 1.2 billion Gmail accounts that Google hosts is no longer fair game for marketers — a significant blow for those who once relied on this information.
14. Internet Trends Report sets marketing world abuzz
Each year Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report allows digital marketers to examine current and upcoming trends and evaluate how they will react. Some of the top findings in this years’ report:
- The average adult in the United States spends more than 5 hours per day with online media.
- More than 3 out of 5 marketers claim accurately measuring ROI is their biggest challenge.
- Mobile advertising spend surpassed desktop advertising spend for the first time ever in 2016.
13. Instagram doubles its advertisers
Instagram now boasts more than one million monthly advertisers — a number that doubles the previous number of 500,000 that was last recorded in late 2016. Instagram claims that 1 in 5 of its users have used the app to contact a brand or engage with a brand website. Likewise, more than 80 percent of Instagram users follow a brand on the channel.
12. Report: People don’t trust your digital marketing efforts
If some in your own organizations still have concerns about your company’s digital marketing efforts, they aren’t alone. According to data released earlier this year, nearly 2/3 of consumers say they would respond more favorably to an ad on social media if it had been published to a more traditional channel instead.
11. Ditch plans for your mobile app — you’re better off optimizing for the web
A report released earlier this year by Adobe Digital Insights indicated that mobile app downloads have decreased by nearly 40 percent since 2014 and apps opened are down by 28 percent. Conversely, since April 2016, sites optimized for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Project have seen nearly five times as many hits.
10. Live video is becoming the norm for millennials
Though brands are still perfecting how to use live streaming video, millennials are not only on board with more live videos — they expect them. According to information released earlier this year by eMarketer, approximately two-thirds of 18-34 year-olds have watched live videos and 2 in 5 have published their own live videos.
9. 1 in 3 organizations are planning for a bigger marketing budget next year
An American Express survey earlier this year indicated that roughly 1in 3 chief financial officers are planning for a larger marketing budget in 2018. If you haven’t yet had substantive discussions about your 2018 budget, there is no better time than now — especially considering nearly 57 percent of marketing officers said they don’t plan to increase the budget at all for 2018.
8. Study: Instagram gives you more bang for your buck than Facebook
Instagram has always been viewed as the little brother to Facebook, but a report from SocialBakers earlier this year showed that Instagram is clearly superior to Facebook in at least one important area — engagement. According to the study, even when brands have a larger presence on Facebook, they are still getting an average of three times as much engagement with their Instagram content.
7. Twitter finally gets serious about cutting down abuse
After years of being called out for not being a safe place for people and brands to spend their time, Twitter finally started to get tougher on bullies, trolls, and others who use their platform in abusive ways. The efforts from Twitter may have worked, seeing that it added nine million monthly users in the first quarter — the social channel’s largest quarterly increase in more than two years.
6. Study: People are using mobile devices more than ever
The Interactive Advertising Bureau released a study earlier this year that simultaneously condemned mobile users and made digital marketer salivate. So what did they find?
- More than 60 percent of people use their smartphones at least once every half hour.
- One out of five smartphone owners use their mobile device every five minutes.
- 9 out of 10 respondents access the web on a mobile device every day.
5. Nobody (well, almost nobody) is opening your marketing emails
A study performed earlier this year by GetResponse found that the average open rate for a marketing email is only slightly higher than 20 percent. Ironically, the digital marketing industry was found to have the lowest open rate, with a paltry 13 percent of digital marketing industry emails being opened.
4. Bots are finally ready for their close up
Although discussions about game-changing “bots” started a couple years ago, the beginning of 2017 finally saw bots thrown onto the main stage of content marketing thanks to Facebook Messenger launching a bot discovery tab and group bots. Facebook has said bots will continue to be a high priority in the years to come.
3. Facebook prioritizes its next 5 years
Seeing that Facebook reached 2 billion active monthly users in the first half of 2017, rumors of its demise are obviously premature to say the least. When the company announced its top priorities for the next half decade, wise marketers paid attention and planned accordingly to go along for the ride. A word to the wise: Focus on building communities and creating videos, and your Facebook marketing efforts will do well.
2. Instagram out-Snapchats Snapchat
Coming into 2017, Snapchat was threatening Instagram to become the social channel for teens and young adults. Then a funny thing happened: Instagram started incorporating all of Snapchat’s features — and improving on them. Now, in the middle of 2017, Instagram is more popular than ever, and Snapchat is playing defense to remain a player in the social media game.
1. Social media gets stories… and stories… and stories
A story: Once upon a time there was an upstart social channel who let its users tell stories. Then every other social channel copied it. The end.
You can’t think of the first half of 2017 without thinking of stories. Snapchat may have started the story phenomenon, but 2017 saw Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook all come out with their own versions of stories, with varying levels of success. Time will tell the role stories will continue to play, but they appear to be here for the long haul.